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World junior kickboxing champion Courtney Catterson considers change in sport
York High School pupil Courtney Catterson, who has won a World Junior Kick-Boxing title in Slovakia – but is now considering a change in sport to target Olympic action
THE test of two worlds is proving as difficult an opponent as any faced by York’s newest world champion Courtney Catterson.
Even as she celebrates the distinction of being crowned the WAKO world champion at 50 kilograms and under after a glorious run in the world cadet championships in Slovakia, the teenager is tussling with the prospect of switching to another gruelling mission.
After conquering the world the York High School pupil is torn between remaining among the brightest prospects in kick-boxing or entering the world of women’s boxing, which could open the door to participation in the Olympic Games of Rio.
Before she travelled to Bratislava, Catterson confessed she had been inspired by the performance of Leeds boxer Nicola Adams, who became the first British woman to win boxing gold when the sport was introduced at this summer’s London Games.
Now back home and holding the gleaming cup reflecting her status as York’s first female world WAKO champion, she said her dilemma was proving a difficult decision.
Her kick-boxing coach Duane Reed, of the Kodared Club in Derby, has been in talks with the youngster for whom a place on the ACE Great Britain boxing scholarship scheme might be available.
“It’s whether I want to go on and get more kick-boxing titles or step into the unknown and try to be successful at another sport,” she said. “I have to admit it would not be a bad way to leave kick-boxing, winning a world title and all that. It’s what I’ve known for almost the last ten years and it’s something I am good at.
“But while I am still mulling it over going into something new like boxing might be something I lean towards.”
Of her world title conquest, Catterson said it had been one of the best tournament performances she had ever experienced.
In the opening round she toppled an Italian opponent before beating a home Slovakian fighter and then a German in the semi-final before accounting for a Slovenian opponent to win gold. She won all four bouts by the same emphatic 3-0 margin.
“I was very nervous before the first contest, but the coaches just told me to concentrate on it just being an ordinary fight each time I went into the ring. It was a great experience,” she recalled.
“There were 1,700 competitors across the age ranges from 11 to 28 and the finals attracted big crowds.
“I trained so hard that I hoped I would win, but to do it and become world champion was a great feeling.”
She was also thrilled by the response she got from friends and pupils at York High School. “They’ve all been brilliant.”
While Catterson was crowned world champion, her brother Macauley, soon to enter the Royal Air Force, saw off his first opponent and then beat his second only to be disqualified on a technicality in the quarter-finals.